I’ve never done any kind of training specific to marketing or branding, but I know from being close to it in practice that it’s very important to get right. I’ve been working over the last few days to design the logo that we will use for the company going forward.
First, the importance of the logo. The logo is a depiction of many things. It represents our brand and mission. It’s a representation of who we are and who we want to be. It’s also a critical part of any brand. Great branding can elevate an average company well above their products’ flaws. For example, McDonalds has used their iconic Golden Arches and focus on fun for kids to build one of the largest brands in the world on arguably the worst cooked hamburgers a person can buy. The image of those arches is powerful and instantly recognizable by people around the world. Not that I have desires to make crappy products, but a good brand can go a long way to help make something great.
I’ve been debating with myself the best way to approach starting to gather these assets. While reading some suggestions online for getting design work done, I stumbled across a company called 99designs.com. This is an open marketplace where anyone can request work from designers around the world. There are all sorts of projects, packages, and options for any kind of graphic work needed. I decided to give it a go, as I have absolutely no artistic ability of my own and want something that looks great.
The process has worked like this – I submit a new design project and I’m asked a few different questions about what I’m expecting as far as design. What is the project about? Do I have letters or words to incorporate? What colors? I’m asked to pick through a series of similar projects with carried designs so the site can analyze my tastes. I’m also asked to pick a package or desired outputs. Logo, website banner, ad banner, etc. Once I picked my package, I’m able to kick off my project. One important piece of the project setup is a payment guarantee. By default, I can run the project, not pick any designs, and not pay anything. If I select the payment guarantee, I forfeit my ability to not pick any project and keep my money – I’m guaranteeing to pick one and pay the fee. As this was my first time and I had no idea what to expect, I opted to keep the default option and get my money back if I didn’t like any of the designs. In the end, I chose a silver design package and opted for the optional “orange highlights” on my listing as well as optional listing in the 99designs blog (each was $19 extra). I was told, based on the options that I chose, I could expect 45-50 designs.
With my project kicked off, I began waiting. Designers had 4 days to submit drafts, and I figured it would be a while before I saw anything. It was 24 minutes before the first draft design came in. I had 6 in the first hour. The number, speed, and quality of the submissions was quite astounding. I had 97 submissions after 24 hours. I started going through the submissions, rating them 1-5 stars or declining them. The system allowed me to filter all the submissions in a few different groups: 1-2 stars in group one, 3-5 stars is group two, declines is group three. Because of this, any designs I liked got 5 stars, designs I wasn’t sure about got two stars, and designs I was sure were not right got declined. This allowed me to easily group and review designs which was helpful throughout the process.
The first phase of the process lasted 4 days in which designers submitted designs and I reviewed them, rated them, and gave feedback to the designers so the could submit revisions. During this phase, I needed to pick up to 6 finalists to work with in the final 3 days of the contest to pick the winning design. I narrowed it down to 5 finalists and gave each more specific feedback on changes I wanted to see for the final round. From the additional submissions I got down to the 2 favorites, and was able to settle on the final logo within the 3 days.
Once the final design was selected, I was able to provide additional feedback to the designer. I asked for a few color tweaks by providing exact colors that I wanted to see with the logo. Once the colors were finalized, I accepted the files, was able to download them all (files were provided in several formats) and end the competition. This also released the payment to the designer.
When I completed the acceptance of the images, I also was given all rights/ownership of the designs.
In the end I received a total of 403 designs through the whole process. I am ecstatic with the results and couldn’t be happier with how this process went. I will be using this company and process for any future design work.
What are you doing for design or other work that you are outsourcing?